The Kitchen Territory
In the Kitchen
I belong to a Punjabi family, and our house has always been more of a guest-house, with relatives and family friends visiting us from all over the country. And so my mom spends her entire day preparing meals and snacks for all of us and rarely gets any acknowledgement for her efforts.
She doesn’t seem to mind either. She feels happy to see that we all loved the food and ate to our content.
On one Sunday morning, my aunt and uncle were to come for breakfast at our place. It was raining cats and dogs that morning so my dad asked my mom to make pakoras for breakfast. Now my mom wasn’t feeling too well, so she nixed the idea of making pakoras, and suggested my dad that she could make something that could be prepared easily and quickly. But that was not acceptable to him, so he decided to cook for a change. My dad was assisted by mom in the kitchen, who did all the chopping, peeling and cleaning for him. Once all that was done, he swept in to do the frying and sautéing or whatever and left the kitchen in absolute shambles with a triumphant smile on his face.
All the guests were seated on the dining table, to be served like kings. His cooking was highly appreciated by my aunt and uncle, and he was thanked several times by them.
What intrigues me is why we see the same impulse- to cook for our loved ones – through two different prisms depending on the gender of the person! Why this double standard?
As we enter the second decade of the century, the concept of new age feminism suggests that a woman who works outside home, has a professional life and at the same time manages the household work such as cooking, is seen as a victim of the traditional ways of our country and is pitied upon.
On the other hand a man who works outside the home and comes back to cook for his family is seen as liberated and is idealised by all.
Men are admired for stepping out of their gender-defined roles. Women who like to cook at home are a sell-out, but for the men it’s more of a unique selling point!
What I feel is that we all are good at some things and horrible at others, and we all should do what pleases us the most and try not to buy into any sort of sexual stereotyping.
How has cooking changed?
After thousands of years of male dominance, we now stand at the beginning of the feminine era, when women will rise to their appropriate prominence, and the entire world will recognize the harmony between man and woman
-- The Rebbe
Do you like to cook with your spouse?
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